- Ada, Oklahoma

November 18, 2013

Obamacare is a trick shot hustle

Lone Beasley Publisher

Ada —

Daryl Alfortish, the only one in our neighborhood with a pool table, sometimes showed us neighborhood kids trick shots he had learned. One such had the cue ball ending up on top of two cue sticks placed next to each other pointed diagonally from a corner pocket toward the opposite side pocket. Between the end of the sticks and the side pocket sat another ball. 

The idea was for the cue ball to mount the sticks and roll down, eventually connecting with the second ball, forcing it into the pocket. 

Halfway through the demonstration, Daryl abruptly grabbed the cue ball as it descended toward its goal, in a hurry to show off another trick shot before the first one was consummated. 

As far as he was concerned, once the cue ball mounted the sticks it was a fait accompli, a done deal. No other outcome was possible other than for the cue ball to obey gravity and do its job of driving the other ball into the pocket.  

In its own way, this episode from my youth reminds me of the Obamacare disaster and how predictable it was. While the colossal magnitude and immediacy of its failure is surprising, it is hardly a shock that it did fail. 

Some say it is too soon to write Obamacare’s postmortem, but I don’t think so. It seems to me a fait accompli, a done deal and it was going to be so from the outset, even without the website debacle. 

The Affordable Care Act is a kind of Central-Planning Lite, a first stage version of what Mr. Obama really wanted, i.e., a single-payer system in which the feds take complete control of healthcare for all Americans, not just those who don’t get it through their employer.

Their goal was to eventually sever what remains of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” in these industries and put them under total control of the federal government. This is always a losing strategy. 

Worse, despite Mr. Obama’s mea culpa, his “fix” for consumers whose insurance plans are canceled takes a ballpeen hammer to Adam Smith’s invisible hand and mangles it if insurance companies go along. Most won’t and this will allow him to blame them for the mess he created with the help of a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Speaking of which, has anyone heard lately from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now that we’ve learned what’s in the 2,000 plus page bill she said needed to be passed in order to find out what was in it? 

Not that government gets all the blame here. If the insurance industry hadn’t drooled over the prospect of gaining 30 million new customers Obamacare would have died an early death. 

In that way, the “pool hall trick” they fell for more closely resembles the opening scene of Paul Newman’s famous movie “The Hustler.” 

Moreover, as in the movie, the problem for hustlers is they sometimes get caught. Such is the case for Mr. Obama now.